The Leipzig Aerosol Cloud Interaction Simulator facility hosts a "cloud simulator", a huge tower with all the instruments to generate and analyse the clouds it creates.


Computer software used for weather forecasting or climate investigation do not reproduce accurately the behaviour of clouds. The clouds simulator has thus been designed to achieve a better understanding of the mechanisms controlling aerosol and cloud interactions.

Thermodynamic parameters such as temperature, pressure, relative humidity, critical super-saturation, composition and concentrations of particles/droplets and of chemical composition of the carrier gas can be varied in ranges similar to the atmosphere.

"It's only inside this laboratory that we can generate the same cloud as often as we need and simulate it with or without human intervention. It's the only place where we can separate the physics influences from the chemical ones or from any other influence," explained Jost Heintzenberg, at the Institute for Tropospheric Research.

Via El Pais.
Related: for global cooling, just spray, artificial tornadoes as an energy source.

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Researchers at the Technische Universität Dresden have developed the first self-organizing electronic components.

The scientists were inspired by the behaviour of complex systems found in nature. If individual cells die off, the organism continues to function. This is because each cell is autonomous in its function. If necessary, other cells can even step into the breach and take on a replacement function.


Each single element of the technical systems is given autonomy so they are able to communicate with the other system units and to co-operate.

The controlling unit can react upon stimuli sent by diverse elements. If an electronic control unit breaks down, then another control function can integrate a new element and take on its function. For example, if the control switch for an electric window in an automobile should malfunction, then the driver would initiate an autonomous reconfiguration of the system. As a result, the window control unit receives its information from another switch, making it possible to close the window using that different switch.

The team has developed a test vehicle known as August 1 to test the concept.

The scientists hope that automotive electronics can be made even more reliable by decentralizing its functioning. In the field of technology this principle has until now only been applied with computers: USB ports are used to attach various external devices, which the computer recognizes, accepts and integrates.

Via Multipolarity Memes < Innovation Reports. Image from Press release.

Chris Voigt’s team at the University of California have turned a bed of light-sensitive bacteria into a photographic film. Although the system takes 4 hours to take a picture, it delivers extremely high resolution.


The "living camera" uses light to switch on genes in a genetically modified bacterium that then cause an image-recording chemical to darken. The bacteria are tiny, allowing the sensor to deliver a resolution of 100 megapixels per square inch.

To make their novel biosensor, scientists chose E. Coli, the food-poisoning gut bacterium. They shuttled genes from photosynthesising blue-green algae into the cell membrane of the E. coli. One gene codes for a protein that reacts to red light. Once activated, that protein acts to shut down the action of a second gene. This switch-off turns an added indicator solution black. A monochrome image was thus "printed" on a bed of the modified E. Coli.

The experiment could lead to the development of "nano-factories" in which minuscule amounts of substances are produced at locations defined by light beams.

For instance, a different introduced gene could produce polymer-like proteins, or even precipitate a metal. "This way, the bacteria could weave a complex material," says Voigt.

Via New Scientist.

Lancaster University in the UK is working on an irrigation system, which would let growers know when their plants are thirsty.

As plants become too dry they show "signs of stress" and warm up. This warming shows up as warm spots on a leaf viewed with a thermal imaging camera.


Conventional and thermal camera imaging systems on an irrigation boom would be passed over the crops at regular intervals collecting information about how much water each plant needed. The data would be fed into an irrigation system which would then robotically deliver a precise, targeted amount water to each plant, according to demand.

Within the next four years, the scientists, working with horticulturalists and a consortium of enterprises across the UK, hope to develop this automated watering device.

Professor Bill Davies, Director of the Lancaster Environment Centre, said: "This technology is potentially revolutionary in that it lets the plant tell you when it is thirsty and exactly how much water it needs."

Via The Engineer.

More fuss-free farming: e-sheeps do it for themselves, cows do milk themselves.

Japanese researchers have developed a genetically modified rice that could alleviate the sniffles, sneezes and itchy eyes caused by hay fever.

The rice contains an allergy-causing protein, so continuous consumption of the grain could gradually lead to immunity against pollen allergies.

A test group of mice fed the modified grain for four weeks showed fewer allergy symptoms such as sneezing and runny noses than a control group fed normal rice. The researchers will now feed rats and crab-eating monkeys the genetically modified rice to ensure its safety for human consumption.

Via Asahi Shimbun. Also on BBC News.

The Italian researchers who produced the first horse clone have announced the birth of 14 cloned piglets.

Prof Cesare Galli, at the Laboratory of Reproductive Technology in Cremona, said the pigs would help in understanding animal to human organ transplants. The pigs could be used as a model for transplantation research because they are close to the human in terms of anatomy and physiology.

Scientists have now cloned sheep, mice, cattle, goats, rabbits, cats, pigs, mules and dogs.


Unlike Prometea and Galileo (the horse and bull previously cloned at the Lab), the piglets don't have a name. "There are too many of them," explained Galli. "We use numbers to call them."

Via La Repubblica and BBC News.


British scientists are genetically engineering chickens to protect them against the avian influenza that has devastated poultry farms in the Far East, with a view to replacing stocks with birds that are not susceptible to influenza.

The team, led by Laurence Tiley, of Cambridge University, and Helen Sang, of the Roslin Institute has already shown that chicken cells can be protected against flu by inserting small pieces of genetic material.

Even if the technique works, it will be several years before it can be used to stock farms and it also faces regulatory hurdles and a battle to win over public opinion. "Once we have regulatory approval, we believe it will only take between four and five years to breed enough chickens to replace the entire world population," Professor Tiley said.

Via The Times.

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